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Science

— Medical

Motorized spermbots help weak swimmers along to boost fertility

There are a number of possible solutions available to those having trouble conceiving, including artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, but these treatments are far from a surefire fix. Researchers at IFW Dresden in Germany are working towards another approach they hope will provide better results by targeting a key driver of infertility, sperm that don't swim well. The team has now demonstrated sets of motorized "spermbots" that can give weaker swimmers a much needed boost to the egg.

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— Space

Juno Jupiter probe sets solar-powered space distance record

NASA's unmanned Juno deep space probe may still be over six months away from reaching Jupiter, but it's already flown into the record books. On Wednesday, January 13 at 2:00 pm EST (19:00 GMT) the planetary orbiter became the most distant solar-powered craft from Earth as it passed a point 493 million miles (793 million km) from the Sun. Juno is the ninth deep space probe to visit the outer Solar System and the first to rely on solar panels for power instead of nuclear generators.

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— Medical

Cloaking chemo drugs in cellular bubbles destroys cancer with one fiftieth of a regular dose

The chemotherapy drug paclitaxel is commonly used to treat breast, lung and pancreatic cancers, slowing their growth by preventing cancerous cells from replicating. But once administered the drug is attacked by the body's defenses, necessitating larger doses that result in complications such as joint pain, diarrhea and an impaired ability to fend off other infections. Researchers have now discovered a way to sneak the drug through to the tumor with its entire payload intact, a technique that could make for more effective cancer treatments with fewer side effects.

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— Space

Rosetta confirms the presence of water ice deposits on the surface of comet 67P

New analysis of data collected by ESA's Rosetta orbiter has revealed significant quantities of water ice on the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P). While the presence of water had previously been observed on 67P both in the comet's coma, and as frost on the surface, this discovery represents the first time that a surface deposit of water ice has ever been definitively confirmed on the comet.

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— Medical

Mobile EEG cap to enable brainwave monitoring on the go

Like many scientists around the world, researchers working out of UC San Diego have high hopes for how our brainwaves might one day be used to control devices, tackle neurological disorders and everything in between. But for that to happen, the devices used to monitor them not only have to be highly advanced, but comfortable and practical to wear on our heads in everyday environments. The team has now taken a promising step towards such a future, unveiling what it says to be a first-of-its-kind EEG headset that will take brain monitoring out of the lab and into homes, cars and offices.

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— Materials

Self-adaptive composite heals itself and returns to its original shape

Self-healing materials that can repair cracks and other damage automatically have been the dream of scientists and engineers for decades, but a team of scientists at Rice University have come up with a new twist. It's a Self-Adaptive Composite (SAC) that is not only self healing, but also has reversible self-stiffening properties that allow it to spring back into shape like a sponge.

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— Biology

Beastcam gets quick 3D scans of live critters

When studying wild animals such as sharks, it can be difficult to get ahold of one every time you want to check something out. Having a 3D model of the creature would certainly help, although getting a shark to sit still for several minutes while being scanned could be quite the challenge. That's why a University of Massachusetts Amherst team led by biologist Duncan J. Irschick created the portable, quick-scanning Beastcam.

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